Enterprise

Friends, networks can help you to grow your venture

friends

As this year’s general election campaigns gather momentum, one thing that has been happening in the background is resource mobilisation by candidates across the board.

From fundraising through dinners, direct financial appeals, solicitation of endorsements, individual and communal votes, politicians are using all assets at their disposal to pursue success.

In short, they are tapping their friendships and social network resources to gain political mileage.

Friendship is a resource that we often ignore in our quest for success in business and virtually in all spheres of life.

The rewards of building good and genuine friendships cannot be quantified. They are awesome and numerous.

Friendships and social networks, both new and longstanding, can catapult your business to great success if used properly.

If you open up and reach out to genuine friends and deliberately involve them in your business endeavours, you may be surprised by the benefits you accumulate.

Your friends can encourage you and assist with ideas and in some cases finances or ideas on how you can get financial assistance.

True friends constantly remind you of your strengths, past successes and give you hope when you feel discouraged or defeated. Majority of them may not give you ideas or material support but offer a shoulder to learn on, which is more important in stormy times.

Your close friends can offer you honest, unbiased and helpful feedback about your products and how to improve in order to gain customers.

Your ability to get key resources such as good employees, suppliers, experts, investors and even customers depends mostly on your social networks and quality of friends.

However, friends are like strong medicine which the old poet said is a strong cure when used well and poison when misused.

Friends can be toxic to your business and success by being doubters who critique your business constantly but do not offer solutions. If they are pessimistic they can show you reasons why you will fail and not how to survive.

You have heard it said don’t mix friendship with business. With modest help or none at all some friends may feel entitled to freebies, products or a piece of the profits.

They may waste your time or borrow some money and not pay and feel it is fine because of past help or association with you.

Essentially it pays to know when and how to use your friends and networks to advance your business or personal agenda in a win-win situation.

Choose your friends well and aim at fostering a meaningful business relationship rather than relying on your friendships for business success.

The only way to get the best out of your friends and networks is to be interested in their lives and what they do. First look for opportunities to help or add value in their lives and they will automatically reciprocate by talking well of you, endorsing your products, referring their friends and contacts to customers, employees, experts and so on.

Ultimately, your level of success depends on the friends you chose. Jim Rohn said it well: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market. [email protected]